A Man of Science: An Interview with Robert J. Sawyer

An Interview with Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer has won just about every award there is in the genre of science fiction. He is the author of the novel Flashforward, which the TV series was based on, and has just completed his WWW trilogy with Wonder .Robert was first interviewed on BookBanter on July 11, 2009 shortly after the release of Wake. You can listen to that interview here.

In this recent interview, he talks about how he has changed as a writer in writing the trilogy, what he hopes readers get from the WWW books, what he thinks about screenwriting, what his next book will be about, where he thinks technology is headed, and what his favorite food is!

To read the interview, click here. To read reviews, click on the covers below:

Wake Watch Wonder

“WWW: Wonder” by Robert J. Sawyer (Ace, 2011)

Wonder
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In Wonder, award winner Robert J. Sawyer’s thrilling conclusion to his WWW trilogy, after Wake and Watch, he takes the evolved consciousness of the Internet, known as Webmind, to a whole new level.  After almost being destroyed by the US agency WATCH, Webmind is now released to the world by its discoverer, Caitlin Dector, a teenager, who goes on TV to broadcast the existence of this animate consciousness.  Word spreads lightning fast on the Internet, and Webmind is soon communicating with millions of people around the world, simultaneously, learning much and helping those it can.  In a short while it has discovered a possible cure for cancer, but Webmind’s goal is some form of world peace and to bring joy to humanity.  Meanwhile Colonel Peyton Hume, the Pentagon’s top expert on artificial intelligence, thinks Webmind isn’t what it says it is; that its intentions aren’t for the improvement of human kind, but for personal gain; with the power it has it could take over the world, or worse.

In Wonder, Sawyer brings his separate storylines – Caitlin the blind girl, Hobo the ape, and Communist China – all together in a page-turning finish, going beyond the basic story and questioning philosophical ideas and scientific theories and what they mean for humanity and the future.  While Sawyer may be letting his own ideology show itself here, it is no doubt one that is subscribed to by many readers, who will enjoy seeing some of these ideas come to fruition in this possible world.  And isn’t that one of the reasons for the existence of science fiction?

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on March 6, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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Wake Watch

“WWW: Watch” by Robert J. Sawyer (Ace, 2010)

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After the success of Wake, Hugo Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer returns with the second in the WWW trilogy, Watch.  Caitlin Decter is still trying to wrap her mind around her new power; having spent the first sixteen years of her life blind, she is now able to see in one eye.  The world is a beautiful place, with incredible looking things to see, as well as fascinating people, not to mention her interesting friends and family who she can now see, as well as learning how to do so many ordinary things with sight for the first time.

Then there is Webmind, the sentient being that has arisen from the depths of the Internet and is becoming more conscious, aware and brilliant by the second.  Caitlin does everything she can to keep Webmind entertained and fulfilled, employing the help of her parents, as well as the doctor who gave her her sight.  But the secret military group known as WATCH has discovered the existence of Webmind and after conferring with the highest levels of the government, they’ve deemed this presence a threat to national and international security and are going to try to kill it.  Caitlin is left with just one choice: announce the existence of Webmind to the people of the world.

Sawyer continues the great storytelling from Wake, discussing the concepts of game theory, and what a sentient presence on the Internet could really mean for the world in his comfortable, conversational way.  The only failing of this book is that it leaves the reader immediately wanting the conclusion to the trilogy, Wonder.  Fans will have to wait one more year for the thrilling end to this great trilogy.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on May 3 2010 ©Alex C. Telander

04/09 on the Bookshelf . . . “Watch” & “Under Heaven”

Watch Under Heaven

Received two delightful deliveries this morning; two books with two beautiful covers:

The sequel to the fantastic Wake, Watch by Robert J. Sawyer, the second in the trilogy.  I enjoyed Wake very much, and after interviewing Robert J. Sawyer, I’m looking forward to Watch.

It’s been some time since bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay’s last novel, Ysabel, but fortunately on April 27th, Under Heaven, his new novel of medieval China will be published.  And you can hear what he has to say about it in this interview.

Very much looking forward to reviewing both of these.  Tis a good month for publishing!

“WWW: Wake” by Robert J. Sawyer (Ace, 2009)

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From an author who has written a number of books and has won just about every award a science fiction author can, comes one of the most original and fascinating novels to be published in a long time.  It’s one of those books that has just as much right to be on a fiction shelf with other literature classics. Wake is the first in a trilogy about a blind girl, Caitlin Decter, who undergoes new and theoretical surgery in Japan to bring back her sight.  With an implant in one eye, signals are sent to a small machine via Bluetooth, which Caitlin refers to as her “eyepod.”  Patches and downloads for the software for the eyepod are made online, as Caitlin returns to Canada.    With a new patch, she begins to see something that is not real life.  She soon realizes it’s a view of the Internet through a browser though she has no control over what she’s seeing.  Then with another patch update, Caitlin begins to see through the eye with the implant and her life is changed.  Yet there is still something on the Internet that is apparently alive, communicating with her at first through her restricted sight and then online with her, and it’s intelligence is growing rapidly.  The book ends at this point, along with something very strange going on in a China, and an ape who is somehow able to paint pictures of people.

Wake is a book that will grow on you as you read it.  Sawyer has done a fantastic job of researching the science, but also throws in lots of references that any savvy Internet user will recognize, appreciate, and be amused by; as well as putting the readers in the mind of a blind person and how they do the amazing things they do each day.  By the end of the book readers will be impatiently wanting the sequel, Watch, due out in 2010.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on April 16th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Robert J. Sawyer check out BookBanter Episode 11.